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Treasures of the jewish ghetto of venice

Restored by Venetian Heritage

8 December 2014 - 16 March 2015

In 1943 a number of precious silver and bronze objects dating from the 1700s to early 1900s were hidden from the approaching Nazi armies by two Venetian Jewish religious leaders who never returned from the concentration camps. These valuables, which represent traditional Venetian Jewish silversmithing and bronze-casting methods, were forgotten until they were unearthed during the restoration of the Scuola Spagnola (or Ponentina) in the Venetian ghetto a few years ago, and a selection from this collection are on display at AGWA.

Over the centuries, Venice was considered a hub of Jewish culture, with its residents playing a valuable role in the city’s economy from the time of the Renaissance. In 1516, the Venetian Senate segregated Jews in a six-acre area that housed several thousand people and five synagogues, at the site of a former foundry (geto). To mark the 500th anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice the international organisation Venetian Heritage, in cooperation with Maison Vhernier, has organised for these objects to be restored and displayed in an exhibition titled Treasures of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. Recently presented at the Winter Palace in Vienna, the exhibition has also been seen in New York, Houston and Venice.

Most of the silver and bronze objects on display were used during worship in the synagogues and on special occasions and holidays. Such liturgical pieces include the wooden Tikim (Torah cases), and Torah crowns and pairs of Rimmonim that adorn the scrolls or the Tikim. Also included are pieces that relate to ritual dining traditions such as silver plates used during Passover Seders and a silver ewer and basin, used for the washing of hands prior to eating.

Venetian Heritage

Venetian Heritage is an international non-profit organisation located in New York and Venice and is part of the UNESCO Private Committees Programme for the Safeguarding of Venice. Venetian Heritage supports cultural initiatives through restoration projects, exhibitions, publications, lectures, studies, and research programmes aimed at raising global awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the Veneto region in Italy and areas once belonging to the former Republic of Venice.

MESSAGE FROM THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF VENICE

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GUided Tours

Hidden treasures revealed
1pm Fridays in Jan & Feb (no tour 2 Jan)

1pm, Fri 6 & 13 Mar


Torah crown
Italy, mid-19th century
silvered metal
23 x 30 cm
Collection of the Communità Ebraica di Venezia (The Jewish Community of Venice)
Picture credit: ©Fondazione Venetian Heritage onlus


 

 


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